Moffat County School District seeks local feedback

Superintendent survey available online through Dec. 31

Superintendent Search

— The Moffat County School District will accept community input on the hiring of a new superintendent through an online survey, available at moffatsd.org until Dec. 31.

You can help impact the educational system of Northwest Colorado with nothing more than a few mouse clicks over the course of several minutes.

The Moffat County School District currently offers a survey available to people within the community to weigh in on the hiring process of the replacement for Superintendent Joe Petrone. The questionnaire will be on the MCSD site through Dec. 31 and seeks input from local parents, teachers, administrators, students and other interested parties within the area about the qualities they find most desirable in a new superintendent, be they experience in budgetary planning, community interaction, fostering academic performance or other traits.

The survey also asks for referrals of qualified candidates, as well as any other helpful information.

Representatives from the firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will take any suggestions into consideration as they work with the school district to search for the right person for the job. The company met with a number of community representatives Tuesday afternoon following a session with the members of the Board of Education.

About a dozen people from Craig and Moffat County were on hand to discuss their thoughts, with people ranging from government officials like Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe to heads of nonprofit agencies like Moffat County United Way Executive Director Corrie Ponikvar.

Rick O’Connell, senior associate for HYA, led the forum, asking people to focus on the assets of the district and how a new superintendent would enhance the strengths already present within schools and improve wherever necessary.

Among the biggest concerns of the crowd was the issue of educational funding, as well as retention of employees in the district.

“We need to work on recruiting quality teachers, coaches, educators and leaders that want to stay here,” said Sara Linsacum, Sunset Elementary School teacher. “We get a lot of young teachers who are only here for one year, so we really have to attract families that want to be here.”

That strategy also plays into the superintendent search, with any potential candidates needing to be serious about relocating. That includes their families, said community member Dave DeRose.

“I’ve seen a lot of people, no matter what position they’re filling in our community, who felt like this was the place they needed to be, and their spouse just hated it here,” he said.

O’Connell agreed, saying that the “unique” features of Moffat County will be a determinative factor for whomever is hired.

“It’s a great community, but you have to understand what it’s about and want to be here and want to stay here,” he said.

O’Connell has worked with school districts of all sizes across Colorado for HYA. He draws on his own time in an administrative position with the Douglas County School District, seeing the area grow from a student body of 3,000 to 45,000 by the time he left after a 28-year timeframe, owing to growth in places like Castle Rock, Parker and Highlands Ranch.

As far as the personality of the individual who will eventually become Moffat County’s superintendent — a selection process that will continue into late January and likely through February and March — people’s recommendations for character attributes included decisiveness, approachability, the ability to handle crisis situations and a desire for community involvement.

Dana Duran, executive director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado, said she would like to see someone “student-focused” and ready to take risks that will benefit children of the area.

“We care deeply about this school district and want nothing but the best,” she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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